Olimje Castle is a 16th-century castle and currently a Franciscan monastery. The predecessor of the current castle occupied the site since c. 1000, and first belonged to the counts von Peilestein, including Hemma of Gurk, an 11th-century saint and member of the family.
Around 1550, a Count Tattenbach rebuilt the castle in renaissance style, at the same time adding a defensive ditch to guard against Turkish incursions.
In 1658 the castle was bought by Baron Ivan Zakmardy of Zagreb, who began converting it into a monastery, and in 1663 donated it to brothers of the Pauline order from Lepoglava, Croatia. Between 1665 and 1675, they completed the conversion and added a handsome baroque church, whose altar of the Assumption of Mary is considered one of the finest baroque altars in Slovenia. In 1740, the monk Ivan Ranger painted the entire presbytery, and a side chapel was built and decorated.
The Paulines also established a pharmacy, among the oldest in Europe; the monastery contains a fresco honoring Paracelsus. The anticlerical reforms of Joseph II forced the monks out, as their activities did not include running a school or other charitable institution, and Olimje was not a parish, which it became in 1785. The former monastery was bought by the noble house of Attems in 1805; due to high taxes, the new owners could however not afford the upkeep of the entire structure, and had the north and west wings torn down.
The castle was nationalized after World War II. In 1974, a major earthquake badly damaged it; soon afterward it was thoroughly renovated with the assistance of national, municipal, and parish funds. The sanctuary and parish were given to the Conventual Franciscans in 1990. On the 15th of August, 1999, they revived the monastery after 217 years. Today they care for both pilgrims and the tourists visiting the historic castle and pharmacy. Due to public interest, they have also established a herbal apothecary.References:
The Beckov castle stands on a steep 50 m tall rock in the village Beckov. The dominance of the rock and impression of invincibility it gaves, challenged our ancestors to make use of these assets. The result is a remarkable harmony between the natural setting and architecture.
The castle first mentioned in 1200 was originally owned by the King and later, at the end of the 13th century it fell in hands of Matúš Èák. Its owners alternated - at the end of the 14th century the family of Stibor of Stiborice bought it.
The next owners, the Bánffys who adapted the Gothic castle to the Renaissance residence, improved its fortifications preventing the Turks from conquering it at the end of the 16th century. When Bánffys died out, the castle was owned by several noble families. It fell in decay after fire in 1729.
The history of the castle is the subject of different legends. One of them narrates the origin of the name of castle derived from that of jester Becko for whom the Duke Stibor had the castle built.
Another legend has it that the lord of the castle had his servant thrown down from the rock because he protected his child from the lords favourite dog. Before his death, the servant pronounced a curse saying that they would meet in a year and days time, and indeed precisely after that time the lord was bitten by a snake and fell down to the same abyss.
The well-conserved ruins of the castle, now the National Cultural Monument, are frequently visited by tourists, above all in July when the castle festival takes place. The former Ambro curia situated below the castle now shelters the exhibition of the local history.